Year after year, there’s a ton of movement within the standings of the NFL. Teams move up and down based on the moves they’ve made and the team’s performance. Last year, we saw the Bengals skyrocket to the top of the league while the Seahawks plummeted. Let’s take a look at who will improve and decline this year.
Teams That Will Improve
First off, this is obvious. After finishing last in the AFC West last year with a 7-10 record, the Broncos will improve this year. They traded for Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson and added veteran pieces to the offensive line and defense.
The Broncos are looking dangerous already, having one of the more complete rosters in the league.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers had a solid season last year that ended in heartbreak at the hands of the division-rival Raiders. They finished third in their division with a 9-8 record. The team somewhat underperformed the expectations many had last season.
With emerging superstar quarterback Justin Herbert under center, the Chargers look brighter next season. They retained wide receiver Mike Williams while adding star cornerback JC Jackson and trading for pass rusher Khalil Mack.
Los Angeles is going all-in during Herbert’s rookie contract, and they’re my favorite to win their division at the moment.
The Browns were one of the biggest stories this offseason. They traded for an elite quarterback in Deshaun Watson and an elite receiver in Amari Cooper. Two obvious upgrades over what they had last year.
This team returns a solid roster with lethal running backs and a stellar line on both sides of the ball. They finished with an 8-9 record last year, and as long as Watson doesn’t get suspended, they’ll surpass that mark.
It’s pretty hard to not improve from 3-14, right? That’s what Jaguars fans are hoping for this upcoming season. The Jaguars spent big in free agency, adding help on both sides of the ball.
Bringing in reinforcements for quarterback Trevor Lawrence is exactly what the team needs to be doing.
Teams That Will Decline
Last year, the Seahawks finished with a 7-10 record and missed the playoffs in Seattle’s rare, underwhelming year. The team lost arguably its most important players in the last five years. Quarterback Russell Wilson was traded, and linebacker Bobby Wagner was released.
The team is now left in shambles. Drew Lock is in line to be the starter at quarterback, and that doesn’t bode well for success.
The retirement of Ben Roethlisberger leaves the Steelers in a bit of a hole. They don’t seem to have a clear replacement yet for the position. The upcoming quarterback draft class is relatively weak, so it appears the Steelers have rough sledding ahead of them.
Overall, their roster is in decent shape. The offensive line was improved. However, surpassing their 9-7-1 record from last year seems unlikely.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs seemed to be the only AFC West team that went backward this offseason. With the departure of speedster wide receiver Tyreek Hill, quarterback Patrick Mahomes doesn’t have his deep threat anymore.
While he still has a plethora of options, it’s not the same. The Chiefs improved their defense and added reliable pass-catchers, but it’s going to be tough to improve their 12-5 record from last season.
Green Bay Packers
Like the Chiefs, the Packers also traded away their alpha receiver. The Packers have a solid roster still, as their 2021 record of 13-4 showed.
I’m sure Aaron Rodgers has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep the Packers boat afloat. However, 13 wins likely won’t reoccur.